My Personal Experience
A few years ago, I was interested in learning how to ski, and I was a bit frustrated at the lack of relevant content online. Specifically, I was looking for clear advice about how long it would take me to become a reasonably competent skier. So after some research and a few trips to ski resorts, here’s a report on how long it took me to learn the basics.
I started with a few one-day ski lessons during the winter. Those lessons were totally non-confrontational, and I was given a lot of time and space to learn independently.
It was a slow start at first. What made it interesting was learning how to balance myself and build some confidence. The real fun began once I started learning how to turn.
On my first day, I could make some rough turns on a pretty flat hill. On the third day, I could make actual turns on a normal slope already. By the end of the fourth day, I could do it all day long without stopping.
The speed I could make the turns was extremely slow, but I could do it basically without falling over.
The next day, I took off my rented boots, and I went skiing on my own.
I had a few crashes, but I could eventually make turns without falling over after a few days. The process took me about a week.
Factors in Learning to Ski
Learning to ski is a daunting task for many people, no doubt. If you think of it formally, it’s completely understandable why it’s often referred to as "a sport of mastery."
You need to maintain your balance, stay upright on skis, coordinate your upper body, maintain rhythm, to name a few. If you’re looking for a hint or a way to do it faster, then it’s good to know that some important factors play a role.
The first factor is that it takes the body some time to get used to the motions involved in skiing.
For some people, learning to ski is more difficult because they make errors in maintaining their balance. The tendency to lean too far to one side or the other or fall on the inside or outside of their legs often leads to failure for the beginner skier.
The speed at which a beginner skier learns is often tied to his own particular physical structure.
Another factor is how many days a beginner skier starts after obtaining his ski equipment. Some people want to learn right away but may be discouraged by an initial failure. Starting slow and getting a feel for it is often a better strategy.
Once the beginner feels comfortable with the motion of skiing, he can progress to the advanced lessons. Such lessons entail getting on the ski lift and skiing down part of the hill.
So, How Long Will it Take?
It can take anything from a few lessons to a summer to learn the basics. You can be ready to hit the slopes after as little as three lessons. Typically, this will reflect a learning rate of about 10% per lesson. So, if you had three times where you chose three lessons, that will be about all you need.
Having said this, you are still in control of your learning rate. All it takes is some practical skiing. If you can afford to hire skis for a week, then you should certainly visit the mountain at least once per week, preferably twice or three times, if possible. Obviously, you should have at least two days off during this period.
The more you ride, the faster you will learn. So if you can do anything for extra night skiing – for example – then, of course, do it. On the other hand, if you do have the occasional day away from the mountains, don’t worry about it. You can’t control how you learn, so just do the best you can.
For further reading on how long it takes to learn how to ski, visit How Long Does it Take to Get "Good" at Skiing?
To learn about the skills required for your first skiing experience, watch:
To learn what mistakes are common for beginners and how to address them, watch:
For a beginner's step-by-step approach to turning, read How to Turn on Skis – A Beginner's Guide
It was a pretty harrowing experience, as expected, but I am happy to say that I learned a lot, and I might even try it again once or twice. If you want to try it, do not worry, it is very normal to fall a lot. The key to skiing is to give it your best and forget about what is happening around you. The more you focus and dedicate to your technique, the easier it will be for you.